The majority of pets will get arthritis, it is just a question of when. Although arthritis is often thought of as just affecting older pets, it can affect pets of all ages. Fortunately, arthritis can often be treated with veterinary care and lots of TLC from the owners. Dr. Terry and our team at Suburban Veterinary Clinic in Maple Heights would like to look at what you need to know about arthritis in pets.
What is Arthritis?
Like in people, arthritis is the name for a large family of problems that cause pain and stiffness in the joints. In pets, it is mostly seen in the legs, but can also be in the back and neck. It can even affect the tail.
Causes of Arthritis in Pets
Age greatly contributes to arthritis, since the joints have experienced a lot of wear and tear in the pet’s life. Pets may suffer from more than one cause. Other causes include:
- Injuries to the joint in the past
- History of malnutrition
- Being overweight
- Suffering from a birth defect, such as hip dysplasia
Signs of Arthritis in Pets
Pets usually experience a combination of symptoms, which include:
- Swelling of one or more joints
- Stiffness, especially after waking from a long sleep
- Reluctance to do usual activities, such as jumping up on the couch
- Stumbling or falling more often, especially when trying to go up or down stairs
- Urinating or defecating in inappropriate places
- Aggression when touched on the sore spots
- Personality changes
- Muscles in the hindquarters may start to get thinner
- Weight gain
Diagnosing Arthritis in Pets
Our veterinarian will do tests to determine if your pet has arthritis or something else, like bone cancer. The tests will come after a physical exam. These tests can include blood tests, tests of the joint fluid, urinalysis, CT scans, and x-rays.
Treatment of Arthritis in Pets
Arthritic pets are usually given painkillers, corticosteroids, and nutritional supplements. Alternative treatments like acupuncture and using a TENS unit made for pets may also be recommended. If the pet is overweight, then the pet needs to go on a diet. Less weight and pressure put on the animal’s joints will result in less pain.
What Owners Can Do
Owners can help arthritic pets at home by:
- giving their pets a soft bed
- placing non-skid mats on smooth floors
- carrying pets up and down stairs, when possible
- blocking off the stairs so the animal does not fall down them
Contact Our Veterinarian in Maple Heights, OH
If you have questions about how to care for your arthritic pet and live in the Maple Heights area, contact Suburban Veterinary Clinic to schedule an appointment with Dr. Terry. Call our team today at (216) 662-6117 or reach us through our website by using our online contact form.